Hitwise: 25% of Newspapers Sites’ Traffic Comes From Search Engines

(via MediaPost)

According to a new Hitwise report, 25% of the traffic coming to newspapers Web sites arrives from search engines.  This comes on the heels of a custom Nielsen//NetRatings study for the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) showing record traffic numbers of 59.5M unique visitors to these web sites in March.

Challenges:

1) Monetization is not happening as fast as that traffic growth.  “While online ad revenue has been growing, our share of that revenue is not in synch with our reach into the audience,” said Randy Bennett, vice president of audience and new business development for the NAA.”

2) User fragmentation.  “Info from the Hitwise report revealed that news consumption is beginning to fragment, with the share of visits to the top 10 News and Media Web sites (which include newspapers like The New York Times) declining by almost 4%.”

Solution?

“According to Bennett, building awareness of that reach and making it easier for advertisers to buy bundles of local and national ads are key steps toward securing more ad revenue.”

What it means: as Martin Nisenholtz of New York Times Digital said this week at the YPA Conference, the “walled garden” era is dead.  Search engine optimization is a key strategic element if you run a media operation.  Search engines are entry doors to web content and because of their extensive reach, you want to be found in them.  But SEO is not enough.  You need to have a specific syndication strategy to disseminate your content, your brand and, hopefully, your business model throughout the web.

 

 

Newspaper Industry in Trouble: Online Advertising Growth is Slowing

According to the Wall Street Journal, the newspaper industry’s online revenue growth seems to be slowing down and might not be the lifeline they were expecting. Here are the highlights of the article:

Last week, that lifeline began looking frayed. New York Times Co. warned Thursday that online advertising growth this year won’t be as strong as the 30% it had projected. On the same day, Tribune Co. reported that the growth rate for first-quarter interactive revenue was sharply lower than a year earlier. Gannett Co. likewise said online revenue growth slowed in the first quarter from a year earlier.”(…)

(…) last week’s news came as the number of online news outlets proliferates. Rival media such as TV stations and magazines have beefed up their presence, adding to threats posed by Web giants such as Google and Yahoo and popular sites such as CNN.com. Even the social-networking site MySpace has added a news feature and is boosting its ad-sales efforts. (…)

One major issue for many newspapers online: Roughly 70% to 80% of their online revenue is tied to a classified ad sold in the print edition — known as an “upsell,” says Paul Ginocchio, a newspaper analyst at Deutsche Bank. And as newspapers see a sharp erosion in classified advertising for real estate and jobs, their Web sites are being hit as well. Analysts say papers need to find new categories of advertisers. “Newspapers need to move beyond the traditional classified sources they’ve relied upon,” says Borrell’s Mr. Cassino. (…)

Underlining this pressure is a shift under way within Internet advertising. The ad formats that have so far proved strongest for newspapers — banner ads, pop-ups and listings — are losing ground to formats such as search marketing. Ad buyers say automotive, entertainment, financial-services and travel companies — all major newspaper advertisers in print and online — are aggressively shifting dollars into search marketing.(…)

What it means: here are my two cents as an outside observer (and newspaper junkie): obviously, media fragmentation online is hurting newspapers but I believe their general reluctance to embrace content syndication as a distribution/marketing strategy might be hurting them more. If you have an authoritative voice nationally or locally, you need to allow content syndication everywhere to try to drive traffic back to your site(s). Because of the lack of aggressive syndication, newspapers are being removed from the equation by news aggregators and undifferentiated content offer. I’m also a firm believer that becoming either a hypernational or hyperlocal-focussed news source will position you for the future. Everyone positioned in the middle will suffer exactly like what happened in retail with Wal-Mart. The launch of specific vertical sites (with or without a local angle) could also improve their situation. Finally, newspapers need to embrace blogging technology to improve their SEO strategy.

Update: Rich Gordon, Associate Professor at Northwestern University, suggests similar solutions: “Instead of trying to build the best destination, build the best network.”

Meta-Praized: Computers in 2026, Auditions on YouTube, Time’s Person of the Year Plus: Jajah, CragisNumber, NYC Taxis, Nasa, Ask X & BBC

Meta-Praized is a collection of links & stories we’ve “dugg” on Digg.com in the last 7 days. Feel free to add us as a friend: PraizedDotCom

Meta-Praized: Computers in 2026, Auditions on YouTube, Time’s Person of the Year Plus: Jajah, CragisNumber, NYC Taxis, Nasa, Ask X & BBC

Meta-Praized is a collection of links & stories we’ve “dugg” on Digg.com in the last 7 days. Feel free to add us as a friend: PraizedDotCom

Local & Social Media Predictions for 2007

I’ve recently discussed in this blog a list of online media predictions for 2007. I’ve decided to take the plunge and offer my own predictions in the Local and Social Media space for the year to come.

1) Atomization: 2007 will see the acceleration of content/functions/applications atomization (decentralization) via the adoption of multiple syndication methods like RSS, XML and APIs by a majority of web sites.

2) Verticalization: The success of generalist social networks and online video sites in 2006 means that we will see the arrival of a multitude of new specialized players in these two fields.

3) RSS: a clear business model for RSS will emerge. It will start replacing e-mail marketing as a way to communicate directly (and better) to your customers

4) Local will become more social / Social will become more local: A good example of the later is the addition of maps (often Google Maps, the poster child for Atomization!) in FiveLimes or Flickr.

5) Traditional Media will continue to realize that they desperately need to capture eyeballs online, leading to more online acquisitions and/or investments.

6) Long distance & local calls will continue their move towards free. Model might actually reverse itself and we might finally see the strong emergence of pay-per-call as a legitimate lead model for advertisers.

7) Traditional media will create SEO job positions. Search Engine Optimization is a key success factor for traditional media to be well positioned in search engines. Innovative companies will create Social Media Optimization (SMO) positions.

8) Video Monetization: a clear business model will emerge. Either Google’s acquisition of YouTube or the launch of the Venice Project (don’t bet against Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom…)

9) The proliferation of destination sites without clear business models will lead a lot of them to adopt the B2B business model, i.e. software licensing or ASP to traditional media companies.

There you go! Anything you would have added? Do you agree, disagree?

Local & Social Media Predictions for 2007

I’ve recently discussed in this blog a list of online media predictions for 2007. I’ve decided to take the plunge and offer my own predictions in the Local and Social Media space for the year to come.

1) Atomization: 2007 will see the acceleration of content/functions/applications atomization (decentralization) via the adoption of multiple syndication methods like RSS, XML and APIs by a majority of web sites.

2) Verticalization: The success of generalist social networks and online video sites in 2006 means that we will see the arrival of a multitude of new specialized players in these two fields.

3) RSS: a clear business model for RSS will emerge. It will start replacing e-mail marketing as a way to communicate directly (and better) to your customers

4) Local will become more social / Social will become more local: A good example of the later is the addition of maps (often Google Maps, the poster child for Atomization!) in FiveLimes or Flickr.

5) Traditional Media will continue to realize that they desperately need to capture eyeballs online, leading to more online acquisitions and/or investments.

6) Long distance & local calls will continue their move towards free. Model might actually reverse itself and we might finally see the strong emergence of pay-per-call as a legitimate lead model for advertisers.

7) Traditional media will create SEO job positions. Search Engine Optimization is a key success factor for traditional media to be well positioned in search engines. Innovative companies will create Social Media Optimization (SMO) positions.

8) Video Monetization: a clear business model will emerge. Either Google’s acquisition of YouTube or the launch of the Venice Project (don’t bet against Janus Friis and Niklas Zennstrom…)

9) The proliferation of destination sites without clear business models will lead a lot of them to adopt the B2B business model, i.e. software licensing or ASP to traditional media companies.

There you go! Anything you would have added? Do you agree, disagree?

Are Portals on Their Way Out? Platforms Are The New Portals

Scott Karp has a fascinating post about portals vs. platforms on his Publishing 2.0 blog.

“We’ve all become so enamored with the increasingly distributed nature of the web (…) and the success of user-centric platforms like YouTube and MySpace. But we seem to be forgetting that the most successful platforms are acting just like portals — the “one stop shop” to find everything you want or a system that channels all of the value. Yahoo doesn’t create most of the content it aggregates — it’s an old school portal because it aggregates it by hand, so it’s a closed system and therefore less efficient than the platforms. But even a platform like YouTube that embraces the distributed nature of the web is still acting like a portal because YouTube is THE place to upload your videos and THE place to find your videos. “”Platforms (…) are indeed a sea change because anyone can participate, unlike the old portals, where your content had to be selected for aggregation. But these platforms still want all of the value to pass through them, which is the essential nature of portals and mass media. What I don’t understand about the face-off between YouTube and the TV networks is that everyone is still looking at it through the portal/mass media lens. Why is it YouTube vs. a YouTube killer created jointly by the networks? Why can’t video content owners follow the path of blogs and publish their content through whatever platform they want? The only missing ingredient is search — people come to YouTube to search for music videos or the latest Comedy Central clip. Once you can search for video from a third party search engine, it won’t matter where the video is hosted…”

What it means: one of the most interesting analysis of the year. I believe that we are seeing the rise of vertical, specialized sites, being built from the ground up via decentralization. Ease of syndication is what’s creating these new monster destination sites. Look at your business. If you’re running a specialized destination site and you’re not using sophisticated syndication (RSS, XML, API), someone might leverage this to conquer the market. Your goal should be to become one element of the Web 2.0 “Operating System”, i.e. an intrinsic part of the Internet fabric like YouTube and Google Maps.